Saturday, July 31, 2010

7/30 - Slow current...really hot.

Had Charlie S. and crew aboard which included his wife, and her nephews son Max from France, and Charlie's friend. No sooner did we get anchored up, and I had to struggle to stay on the game. I just wanted to go through my motions to see what was going on. But it sort of became people management. Max was reeling the lines in,  we had no current yet, and Charlie's wife thought it was time to just start reeling the fish in. We caught the heck out of Spots and some small Croakers the day before in the same area. But as I tried to maintain order. The dead shrimp wasn't even getting bit.

The tide was slowly coming in on the bottom, as the water still moved out on the top. No good. And I was looking to manage what was going on to the best of my abilities. We moved, and were positioned in a great spot, and every piece of shrimp was eaten off the hooks before I could get a third rod out.

I could see, this might be a long day......

So we went to the jetties. No sooner did we anchor up, and I tossed out two light rigs on the same light rods. Max gets a slam dunk, the rod bows over and the 14 year old who's English was a bit short starts reeling. The "whatever", runs up under the boat, toward the anchor line, I get the rod and try and stop it, and the hook straightens out. It was only a #4 Eagle Claw wide bend. Then, Max reels in a small Bonnet head Shark, and then a tiny Stingray. Time for heavier tackle. I toss out cut Cigar Minnows on a circle hook, and then we sat there, with out a bite.......Go Figure!

The tide was incoming along the south Jetty, the water was green, but really we had no current to speak of.
So we head back intro the river, and we finally have some tide pushing. It's getting late morning, the heat's pouring on. Some one is on the spot I fish already. "Move thy meat.....loose thy seat....",  I always say.  Especially on a Friday thru Sunday. Friday's in the summer are just an extension on the weekend.

So I drop back. No bites. And then I see the guys in the other boat are moving. So I drag up the anchor and get in prime position. Time is ticking away and it's getting Hotter and Hotter......

I get where I want to be. Toss out the baits. And it's just what I figured. Today the incoming tide on this spot is too late in the day. The earlier in the morning the better the bite is. But we wait it out.

We get a few hook-ups, some "ole swing and a miss" on the Red's side. How they run and get off a circle hook is any one's guess.

But we do boat two over sized Reds on cut bait. Certainly didn't want to waste time hunting Pogies with a 4 person trip today.....Don't think they could have handled the hunt for bait. Max, the boy, wasn't the most patient fisherman.

But the two we got were nice ones. The waiting in the heat was intense. All sun, no breeze what so ever. No cloud cover at all. And for me, it was my 4th day in a row under this sun. My stamina was being challenged also.

Back at it on Sunday and Tuesday. Tuesday is one of those rare solo charters......and he wants to "go casting". I guess that means, light tackle no deep water bottom fishing, toss in a float-rig, here and there??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

7/29 - "Sport Fishing" July Style

Had Rick T. and two boys aboard today.  Departed at 7am and headed out the Jetties looking for some Pogies for live bait. The river and ocean was S-L-I-C-K. I have not seen it so calm in a long time. Not a swell, not a ripple. Blue skies, and ZERO wind. 

Of course, I would have liked to see at least a hint of breeze to keep the heat down a little. But that would have been a luxury. Rick wanted "keeper" fish. But unfortunately, this isn't the time of year for keeper Reds.
The last few small ones I have caught was weeks ago at the Jetties and barely were over 18 inches.

I didn't find any Pogies, and didn't want to waste time searching high and low for them. I carried bait in my cooler, just in case we had to use it. Because I'm on a real time line. Ignore the tide and it just ticks away while you're out screwing around.

So we headed into the river and caught some large Reds. After using dead shrimp to catch some small Croakers and Spots. The small Croakers are better than a live Pogie is, in my book. Evidence was when the tide turned and started coming in, and the boat swung. We put away the light rods, grabbed the heavier tackle. I pinned on a small live Croaker, pitched it out and it sat on the bottom maybe 2 minutes and the rod bent over and the line ripped off the spool.

Big Reds are like looking a gift horse in the mouth, in my book. They provide great action. And n the fall, during the spawn season, I get people from all over the country come to catch these fish. But when it comes to "keepers"....take all complaints up with the Florida Conservation Commission. (

There was a lull in the action after boating a few, loosing a few, and having lots of rod bobbing. Because the tide was ripping and I was up to an 8 ounce sinker already. So I picked up and headed back to the jetties to see if we could find some smaller Reds. But that was a waste of very valuable tide. Because there wasn't any current out there at all, and nothing but small Seabass were caught. the name of the game on a 100 degree day. So I left and went back to the same area of the river and anchored up where there was actual "current".  And no sooner did I get out 4 lines, and we had a "Double header".

In the dog days of summer, I believe this is some seriously good action. Just wish we could have done more of it, instead of wasting time looking for "keepers" at the jetties.  It's Capt Dave's "Sport Fishing" for a reason. Now, in the cooler months, it's all about fish in the box.  And believe me, I can't wait for summer to be over myself. I've had enough of the heat.  And have day dreams of a cool late November day float-rig fishing along the jetty rocks, for big fat Specks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7/28 - Two young anglers & big Redbass

Had a wonderful 1/2 day with Matt D. and his two young boys. They were staying up at Amelia Island, so I picked them up at the Sand Dollar restaurant across the river, from the Mayport boat ramp. No waiting, I no sooner pulled up and I could see the two boys up in the parking lot. Perfect timing.....

As soon as I met these two young anglers to be. I could tell, we were going to have a good time. So we pulled away from the dock and headed down river. No messing around. It was fishing time. I had some fresh Pogies left over from yesterday, fresh dead shrimp, and even some dead Mullet as back up cut-bait. We arrived right as the tide was changing. So I started out with the light rods and some dead shrimp, just to see what was going on. And they reeled in a small Seabass and a tiny toadfish. I told the boys, "this isn't what you're going home with under your belt. We're fishing for whoppers, just wait." 

It didn't take long, and we were in position with good current flowing and it was time to break out the "little rods that can", my 6' whoopin rods.

I believe these guys were just 6 & 9 years old, so I helped them out when the hook-ups came. But either way they felt the power of the Redbass as they head shook and ran back and forth behind the boat. When I was their age, I would have just died to do what we did today. Instead a big fish was a 2 pound Catfish at the lake near Grandma & Grandpa's house. And my fancy tackle was a hand-line with an egg sinker and a hook, with a chunk of Chicken gizzard, or earthworm pinned on it.

So all I have to say is, "the kids I take mean a lot to me. And I hope they know they are getting an extra special treat."  

The Red's were from 10-12 pounders. And Matt got to handle the only Stingray hook-up we had. Sorry, no photos are taken of dumpster lids. Although, the Stinger sure did test out my 6' Ugly Stik.

We had a few bites in between that we didn't connect with. And I ran into a little bit of trouble with the people who want to anchor way too close to me in full moon incoming tide. Most people out there just don't want to give an wiggle room. I'm anchored up on bottom so hard it's like blacktop. And when and if my anchor slips, I need some working room. So through ignorance or just inconsideration once I did slip on the perfect spot I was on, there was no getting back on it again, because now I had a boat right in front of me.

It was a great morning. And these two boys were a joy to have aboard the Jettywolf.

Next up:
Dad and two teenagers tomorrow. Then a 4 pak on Friday. Saturday I'm off. Then I have a dad and his 9 year old son on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Had Daniel H. and his father-in law, and his brother-in law aboard today. We tried behind the shrimp boats, but zero was happening. The water temps took a good dip again. It was 77-78 degrees in the Ocean. But as we headed in after getting some Pogies on the beach, I actually ran through a pocket of 74-75 degrees between the jetties.

We headed into the river and upon arrival at the spot the current was smokin'. I had to use 10 ounces of lead to barely keep a Pogie on the bottom.

But as the tide slowed, it was GAME ON!

We had a few Double headers. Which is always nice and exciting. It gets numbers up quick!

We finished up on the big reds and then hit the bottom trying to find a few take home fish. And only found small Croakers & Spots. Then we were done at 1:00pm and man was it H-O-T!

I'm booked till Sunday and have many different crews coming. So I'll keep this short and sweet. I need to kick back and enjoy me some of this expensive A/C.....and a cold PBR.

So stay tuned........


Saturday, July 24, 2010

7/24 - the "Mid"'s all good.

The day after the Greater Jax Kingfish Tournament........usually means all those 4 engined 38' go fast boats are heading back to where they came from on I-95 and I-10. The average tournament fisherman in Jax is whooped, broke, or broke down. And for me, it marks the mid-point of hot summer and my favorite time of year is getting that much closer.......Fall, Winter, Spring.  No, summer is not my favorite time of year. It is business wise, because everyone and their brother loves the heat. I wish folks loved the COOL as much. But of course that coincides with all those (pointless in my opinion) holidays. Again, I only like holidays because of business. I know, I'm a hard-azz.

Remember this post when it's late November and I'm having a ball light tackle fishing the big Jetties, with a sweatshirt on, in super comfort. I think Mike P. and his girlfriend Amy will....they are the folks that fished with me today. He said he wants to come back to Jax and fish again in November. He has too, if he wants to see what makes the "Float Freak" tick!  Oh yeah, drifting the ole Float-rig for spunky cool weather

But that's not what we did today. Today we were departing at 7am. YES. So sweet....we actually drove away from the dock before 7am, because they arrived at 6:30am, ready to go. My kinda folks.
Mike and Kim are from S. Florida and fish all around down yonder. So I was hoping Momma Nature would show some South Floridians, a good day.

We headed out the inlet. It was a bit "swellish". Only two small shrimpers were out in the chum hole working it, and then joined by a big boat, but it headed toward Nassau Sound. I talked up the Blacktips to Mike, so we had it on our float plan. But it was obvious that there was no real action going on behind these two small shrimpers. I'm on a time line, I need signs of action and NOW. But I could tell it was a "dud" today.

There was a deep red sky in the morning, so the wind was GOING to blow eventually. So being it was high tide also along the jetty rocks we headed there. No sharkin today, I guess. So I anchored outside the big rocks and Mike and I tossed cut cigar minnows meant for the Sharks, up to the rocks looking for a Redbass bite. It was a bit to nautical for Kim, but she was a good sport and let us try for a few minutes.

Nothing along that spot at the rocks. So I pulled anchor and went and threw my net once over some pogies, along the beach. Gotta have some live wigglers in the well, for what and where we were heading next.

But my timing was all wrong. We were behind a ship with a Coastie escort. They harassed us of course. And said, "stay 500 feet away and pass the ship at a slow speed."  Well, the ship was hauling ass...."how can I go slow and pass it, I need to go that way?" I asked. The personality'less Coastie couldn't answer my question. I'm heading west, the ships heading west. I'm a tide, time line! They threatened me with a boarding, which I guess means a ticket cause they WILL find something wrong, is what that meant. Gotta love being threated like crap by our own defenders.

The nightly TV news talks about treating Iraqi's and Afghans respectfully to earn their trust...TRY it here first.

So we finally got to where we were going. Anchored up, and tossed live pogies over the side with my little Ugly Stiks. I refer to them as the little rods that "can". Only 6 feet long, but they have such a great action. No need for a long rod when doing this kind of bottom fishing, I have learned. And the gals, kids and older folks have a easier time with rods no so cumbersome. Yeah, goes against my personal philosophy because I like 8 foot rods.  But these sure can whoop a Big Redbass!

And in what seemed like just minutes, Amy was on one......lickety split!

As long as we had good current, and the boat laid perfectly, the big "RB's" were chewin'. Then, it was Mike's turn, and the bite was on......for good.

We did experience a few break-off's and a Stingray spool dump. But the action was real good, till the current slowed on this particular spot.

Mike, bowin up on another Redbass that measures over 30 inches...."we just couldn't get a single keeper, at least not in this area."  We didn't take off to some other zip code as the tide changed, slowed or the current went weak. We just moved around. That's all ya have to do. And the "fleet" around us got pretty thick for awhile. I'm surprised the cruiser, beer drinking crowd didn't pull up and drop a line. Heck we even had a pontoon boat near us....gawd how I dis-like them things. They belong in a lake somewhere.

Hulky, bulky, and F-U-N is what these 10-14 pounders were. Mike said, this was way more than than what he wanted Amy to experience, and that was a good thang!

She did so well, I was jealous. This gal has has natural talent. She was fluid, not in a hurry, and just sweet talked these big RB's to the boat.

Wish I could say the same for the photographer! OPPS...sorry, about the "cut yer head off", in this photo. But that was one big dude, ya got there.

It was a great day. I believe the bite was on because of the weather change. Those puffy clouds, the wind, and the threat of moisture falling I'm sure had a lot to do with the good bite of big Redbass.

Or was mo' Kingfish tournaments till next year?

Hope to see ya'll again Mike, in November. Hope next time it's T-rex sized, T-routz.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7/21 - 1/2 day behind "one" boat.

My whole 1/2 day trip with Patrick B. and Mark was based on the fact that I wanted I.G. - (instantaneous gratification) and didn't want to spend the 1/2 day in the river bottom fishing for a Croaker bite. So as we headed out the jetties, one shrimp boat was already heading in, and I thought....."OH NO, this could be it!"

But as we approached the end of the rocks, I could see one lonely shrimp boat way out there about 3 miles.
It was the Nancy Lee. Which even on days when there's 20 shrimp boats to choose from the Nancy Lee has been lucky for me.

We no sooner pulled up and I could see loads of sharks behind her. I cast, the bait flies off...... I re-bait and cast again, the bait flies off......I cast again, and this time it's a hook-up. The line snaps!

I.G. alright. I.G. to know where..... and each time the shrimp boat is pulling away and I have to re-run up behind it. Forth cast......let it drift, here comes one.......a shark comes up eats the cigar minnow on the big circle hook and.........Patrick is off to the races!

Before we even left the river, Mark asked, "is this boat guaranteed to catch gobs of fish?"
I told him "sure it is, and even sometimes in the middle of July summer doldrums."

And now Patrick is hunched over, line burning off the reel, he's looking all kattywhompus? And it comes to mind, "sometimes ya have to watch out, for what ya wish for."

I think..."Holy Crap" is what was going through Patrick's mind"

"The Pacific Sailfish in Costa Rica didn't pull like this"

Mark also did his fair share, but I got Patrick with the camera because he was the one that seemed to be handling all the hundred pounders. We even had a few spool unloaders, that jumped so far away that if you blinked you missed it. Of course that's the memory makers for me and the targeted species.

It's all about REEL FAST, bend my meat mover rod as hard as you can, that's why I'm using them. Don't sit down, stand up and lever the shark to the boat, with short one turn of the handle pumps, quickly. Fighting the tackle will kill your strength and stamina, in short order.  

After at least 4 sharks if not more by way of hook-up and break off's. We went down the beach with some live baits and did a controlled drift around the Pogie pods possibly looking for a Tarpon, Shark, Cuda, or Kingfish. But never had a sniff.

I guess them Pogies out in 20' of water are safe for another day, if no one is hunting around them.

Then we came back to the ramp. It was a good morning, with hopefully lasting memories and a little, "I didn't know I used that muscle today, by later in the afternoon."  

I'm OFF, for at least the next two days. No I won't even attempt to fish during the Kingfish tournament.

What I can't wait for is this:  (yep, this was July 2008 a solo trip all by myself.)

7/19 - Sharks Galore.....slow river fishing

Had Brent A. and his two sons aboard the Jettywolf on Monday. Plans were for a bit of running & gunning behind the shrimp boats, then head into the river and catch a big "RB" - Redbass.

The sharkin was mighty successful and everyone had a ball pulling on a few sharpnose and the targeted species, big, bad, Blacktips. The ultimate goal? Get one that dumps the spool on my twin drag Accurate reels and see it jump.

The action was I.G. - instantaneous gratification. And is high intencity fishing. I call it, "sweatin' hard by 8am."

Afterwards plans were to run into the river after getting some live Pogies and find us anothewr heavy weight, a big Redbass. But the wind came up, and even though we had Bluefish bites and a possible Redfish break off that was it.

What I want to know is where the hell did all these Bluefish come from??
The end of the jetties is full of them. And jigging live bait is about futile because of the 8 inch Blues everywhere. I know this is Bazzarro World. But it isn't BOSTON!!

7/20 - 1/2 day for the Juniors, during the Jr. Angler day of the Greater Jax Kingfish Tournament.

Who are the idiots who thought we needed Cops at the boat ramp this morning telling us where to park???
Reservist Cops I hope. Like everyone at the Mayport boat ramp needs to know where to park.....DOH!
It's not everyone's first RODEO.

So after getting in the water I made plans to pick up my crew Derrick J. , Kim and two young boys from Louisiana over at the Sand Dollar restaurant across the river. They came down from Amelia Island. So I always use the Sisters Creek Boat ramp as my northisde pick up point. But not this week.

We made our way to the jetties creeping along inside the south, not to be harrassed by the endless stream of Law Enforecent boats. By the time we got to the end of the south rocks, with hundreds of boats taking off, a Navy Ship leaving out with a SeaTractor Tug Boat the inlet was a soup sandwich, with folding 6++ footers back to back, along with the seas swell from the high SE winds the night before.

We were gonna go and let Derrick catch a Shark or two first. But I didn't see a Shrimp boat in sight. I even broke out the binoculars, and it was so hazy and hot already I couldn't see but maybe a mile.

So those plans went out the window.

The wind was blowing from the SE on a falling tide in the river. And I needed a butt load of action to keep these two boys busy, that's for sure. But the action wasn't all that hot. They caught some small Croakers,  Pinfish, Spots and a baby Shark. Dad had fished in Cocodrie, Louisiana before and thought in the summer that we'd be out slaying the Reds and Trout, with 7 year olds. I quickly was reminded before the oil, why I wanted to be a Gulf Coaster too when he told me about his last trip there. But had to break it to him easy, that the fishing in the St. Johns River in July with two 6 year olds wasn't gonna be like that over there, in La.

We tried fishing deep for a really Big Red, but the boys didn't have the patience for that.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

7/17 - Saturday w/ Grandpa, Finn & Elijah

Had Charlie H. and his two grandsons Finn & Elijah aboard the Jettywolf. Last year they fished the river with me.  I believe it was in the spring time. Because we had loads of Jacks, Ladies, Mangroves, and Trout float-rigging along snag-alley. So far, since summer, the float-rig fishing has not been worth it. So today I knew would be different, since it was the height of summer and the forecast was for a breeze to be blowing out of the SE. We took off at 8am, and headed for the big rock, lil' rock area. Just wanted to experiment and see what was going on with the last of the falling tide, with just some dead shrimp on the bottom.

Well, for some reason the anchor wouldn't hold, and we couldn't scrounge up a single bite. Good ole summer time.........

So we made a move up to the lil' Jetties. The tide velocity was perfection......Not hauling butt. Just enough current to fish light rods with a light weight. Charlie and I cast the lines, and would hook the fish for the boys.
But Elijah was not feeling so well, after the first bite which was a small Croaker. So it turned out Finn, his older brother was our "reel'em in guy", the rest of the day. Between cut mullet and plain ole dead shrimp, the action was on a slow start. But picked up a bit as we sat there.

The best bit of the morning was one that ate a Mullet chunk out in 30 feet of water. Obviously, a big Redbass. Because when I set the hook the fish shook its head and peeled drag. But the leader broke right at the hook. Not good! But Finn did pull in a few from Pinfish to a baby shark, yellowmouth Trout, Spadefish and Black "pup" Drum.


Moving around a lot, due to tide changes and hunting light weight current spots we didn't have any other bigger fish hook-ups, except having a Ladyfish or two sntach on the bait. I was hoping to get into the Jacks and those big Bluefish like yesterday. But it never materialized.

It certainly was H-O-T out there. and the breeze started pumping, by the afternoon. It was good to see Charlie and the boys again. And hopefully the next time out Elijah will be feeling better. He was a tropper though. Never complain once.  Just sat on the livewell, and rested.

Weekend's......I believe I have to start making that all trips on a Saturday and Sunday from now till when weekends aren't so busy, a must depart at 7am sharp.

Reason is;  parking at the boat ramp and getting into the bait shop. I have to get into the bait shop early, or it is a super hassle after 7am. Too many people, not enough space in the bait shop parking lot for me to swing in from the opposit direction. Then, once at the boat ramp, I'd like to not have to park accross the street, as so many "late comer's" must do on weekends. It's okay for them with family or friends. But I'm a solo act. 

So leaving late, that means I have to still be there hours before you if I want the morning to go smoothly. I may only live 5 minutes from the boat ramp and bait shop, and I'll always be there at the dock 30 minutes  before you arrive anyhow, to take care of anything I need too, still.

In this heat, I don't care for a 4 - 6 hr. fishing day turning into a 10 hr. day,  from start to finish. Because your fishing day begins way before you get on the boat and finishes way after you've departed anyway you look at it. Especially when I'm booked, day after day.

Most fishing guides on weekends are gone, and I'm still sitting at the dock on weekends. Because they leave promptly at 7am. It's all about the heat, and the population on weekends. Monday through Thursday's, are completely different. Some guides charge a "weekend rate". I've done all I can, not to do that. Except for late notice bookings on weekends.

Friday, July 16, 2010

7/16 - If only a video camera was going......

Had Don and Eric aboard the Jettywolf today. Both have fished with me many times inshore wackin' Trout, Reds, and the rest of the river species. But today I had a plan. Since neither one has done it before. It was time for these guys to join the Hundred Pounder Club. So we went out to the shrimp boat dragging outside the inlet.

The swell was long and soft, so getting there was no big deal. I had some dead mullet left from yesterday so I cut one in half and pinned it on the monster circle hook. "Stand back fella's....Cappy Dave is gonna show ya'll how this is done."

I made the first cast up behind the dragging shrimp boat as they were pushing by-catch off the stern, perfect timing.......or was it? I reared back and made a long bomb cast with my no so castable 870 Accurate twin drag. And I hit a bird! Knocked that SOB right into the water and now it was tangled in the 200 pound mono leader.
"Oh  S--t!"  I reeled in the Tern, that was just going about it's business swooping down to pick up freebies. I untangled the bird, ran back up behind the shrimp boat and let off another long cast just behind the cables of the net. The shark float goes down, the line comes tight and I lift to help set that big circle hook.
P-O-P goes the line! "Okay, that's not supposed to happen." 

I re-rig and we run up to the shrimp again. I cast, the shark float goes down, the obvious shark eats the mullet the lines comes tight as a banjo string, and P-O-P....goes the line again!

"Expletive.....Expletive..... Expletive......Expletive"

So, is three times gonna be a charm?????

I re-rig, and we run up behind the shrimper and I set off another cast right into the prop wash and hand the rod to Eric, to let it drift. The shark float goes down, Eric runs the lever drag to the strike position and he's now hooked up to a brown coastal Marlin. The big Blacktip, splashes on the surface a few times, but never goes completely airborne, or maybe it did but we couldn't see it through all the whitewater, and then goes to dumping the spool of the reel against 15 pounds of good ole Accurate twin drag pressure. And keeps going, and going and fast and so far the I had to give chase as Eric reeled like a Black & Decker drill.

Big heavy beads of sweat were pouring from Eric's brow. "Sorry Eric, this isn't a Jetty Redbass..."
One thing you have to do is remember to battle the shark, not the tackle. Put as much "bow" in the rod as you can. That's what is going to wear that "brown Marlin" (Blacktip shark) out. Reeling is just a way to hold line, because the shark or whatever big fish you may catch is just going to take it out all over again. But to lessen that add lots of "bow" to the rod. It's like the fish is pulling against a bungee cord.

Eric is sweating profusely, arms are getting jello'ish. So Don takes over. And eventually Mr. Blacktip is boat side.

I thought we'd spend the rest of the morning trashing terminal tackle on these rough skinned, highly toothy critters, but Don and Eric were ready to go back in the river and do some of that "normal" Light Tackle fishing. So we headed to the beach to catch some live Pogies with my cast net. Upon arrival, the baitfish were everywhere, two pitches with the castnet  and we had enough for my livewell.

So we ran into the river and the tide was just barely pouring in the river. It wasn't long before we found more toothy critters to eat our pogies. Big Bluefish.....5 pounders! Or at least big for July in the 93 degree heat, and 82 degree water.

Then came a nice Jack Crevalle, for Eric. A real good pole bender.

Then it was back to the jetties to fish for a few Redbass with live Pogies, and cut Mullet on the bottom.

The action was okay out there, not like a winter float-rig fishing day, but okay till the largest Red hooked-up was lost due to a break-off. And Don had to sit down after that and collect his thoughts. I can't blame him. But we had two for the fish box, not big ones, but hell big ones ya can't keep. So small ones are all that much better then.

So afterwards we went and got more fresh live Pogies and then went back up in the river. The wind was HOWLING by now. And it was a real pain getting where I wanted to fish. But we eventually got in there.
Then, Don got some redemption. His Pogie got sucked up, and his rod was bowed over really good. But he had to keep the fish away from the rocks we were anchored up next too. That's the evil of it all. The rocks are structure, I constantly fish next to boulders (hence the name Jettywolf. Jetty = Rocks, Wolf = BITE.)
The fish made an error and stayed away from the jagged boulders. And Don brought boat side a big fat multi-spotted Redbass.

As I netted his fish, I could see some line hanging out of the fishes mouth. Soon as I touched the line, I knew it was mine! I've hooked this fish before!! I looked in the fishes mouth and there it was. The Proof. The line was Mason hard-type Nylon leader. The line I use for bottom fishing with heavier tackle, and the circle hook that was in the Reds mouth was my Mustad 11/0 EZ baiter. I know, no one around here uses Mason leader, and snells on a 11/0 Mustad EZ baiter circle like I do. Holy crap.....this is a fish a customer lost. And it probably was just in the last month or two. Because in this same area one day I had 3 guys from Idaho loose something like a dozen Reds to break-off's. Don't ask me what the deal was that day. But out of 15 hook-ups, they boated only 2 Reds and one stingray.

And this was one of the reds that handed them their azz! Turned the corner around the rocks and said, "BYE, BYE."  Wow, and a month later Don catches the same exact fish. But I am not surprised. This past Spring, a customer of mine caught a tagged Redbass in this location. Upon inquiry about the tag number, I was told the fish was caught at the Little Jetties in the St. Johns River. Wow, that's exactly where we caught the tagged fish. So it just goes to show you that the same Reds frequent the exact same areas over and over again.

Too include the Red that Don just caught, also. Like I said, "If only a video camera was going today on my boat, it would have been like a blopper, the agony of defeat, and the amazement of  how Redfish travel, video. All in one.  Probably great reality TV, for the die hard Angler.

I'm never surprised at what happens out there on charters. But just when I think I have seen it all something like today happens. I guess you could say it's what keeps me going. There's never one single day that's like another. Not one single charter crew that's like another. Each day is as diverse as the people that get on my boat in the morning.

One more day till a break. Saturday: I have grandpa' Charlie and his two grandsons. Then Sunday, I have to cut the lawn, do laundry and sleep in late, till 6am. 

I can't believe I even get these reports done the same day, after dealing with this summer time heat. But I do.
1200 words a day, to keep YOU informed.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

7/15 - Six feet, and three inches...they caught them all.

Did a half day trip today with Roger J. and his two young sons. I told Roger about the sharkin behind the shrimp boats and he was all about it. But I told him, "the boys are too young for this, we'll go catch a few and then go up in the river and let the boys reel in some small fish." And that's what we did, but on a time line.

So we got out the jetties and there was a big rolling swell out there. And just two big shrimp boats, way out a few miles. So I slowly peddled my way on out there, pulled up behind the first shrimper and showed Roger what we do. I made a cast, and my float went down and whatever stole the bait. Second cast the same thing......okay let Roger handle this. Run up again behind the shrimper and toss a bait with a float right over the nets and cables, handed Roger the rod and..........ZING, he was off to the races with a really big Shark. It was a beautiful thing!

Over cast, kawabunga swells, all just felt really right. And the two youngsters didn't care. Dad was hooked up and being drug around the boat and they just walked around the deck as if it was no biggy. Some kids would have been crying, screaming, sea-sick or utterly un-impressed wanting to go home already. But not these two little troppers.

The most amazing thing was as Roger is getting his butt handed to him, and we drift away from the shrimp boat, I see a monster Tripletail. That looked to be 20 pounds come flying out of the water 6 feet, with a Blacktip shark right on it's tail. The water was frothing and it happened a few times. I look behind the boat and there's another high flying Tripletail getting chased too. Amazing, I never for the life of me ever saw such a sight. Tripletail can really jump! And all I can say is, "how do I target those monster Tripletail out there behind shrimp boats?" I hear from time to time shrimpers catching them up to 20-30 pounds in the nets. It was an awesome sight! 

Mean while, Roger is in a full blown heated battle with a big Blacktip. A real Shark, that takes time and patience to catch. But Roger subdues it after about 30-40 minutes.

Before we left the dock there was small schools of mullet jumping around the boat ramp. I saw some small finger mullet, and thought they would be good for Redbass bait later on, so I broke out the cast bet and made a toss. I ended up catching about eight 12" Mullet, instead. So I dropped them in the live well.

We were using nothing but old Cigar Minnows I had as shark bait. But now I thought, "Hey let's toss out a big live Mullet behind the shrimp boat." So after releasing Roger's Blacktip that was a definite 100 pounder plus, we chased up to the back of the shrimp boat and I tossed out the big live Mullet. If you want to see the water explode, try it sometime. Each time, the attack was so violent we either lost the bait, the hook and came back with a 200 pound mono leader that was shredded, like this.

On Roger's last try with the Mullet he got a run out of a sharks that dumped 150 yards off my 870 Accurate twin drag reel and wasn't stopping, until the entire leader was gone, reeling back nothing but  broken 65 # Berkley braided line.

There is no doubt that if you want to loose, break, and re-rig alot, just run and gun those shrimp boats. One day it can be sort of mild smaller sharks, then it can be high jumping Spinners or really heavy weight Blacktips. A few years ago a customer named "Bruno", hooked up a shark in the 7-8 foot range and into the second hour he finally got the shark boat side so we could take a look at it. It wasn't your average Blacktip. The shark surged under the boat almost breaking one of my custom 8' fiberglass Tarpon rods. And bit through the 200 pound leader. That's when I started thinking, these rods may not be heavy enough. So the next year when they came out, I stepped up to the Xtra heavy duty 6'6" Ugly Stik Charter boat series rods. And to this day, I don't believe we'll hook anything out there that'll break one of those. They're seriously tough.

It was the two boys turn now. So we packed up and headed to the Lil' Jetties in the river. There, Roger and I cast and hooked up fish for them both on some light Ugly Stiks and just used dead shrimp. Each time I take the kids there to just reel in some fish, I forget how fun it is to sometimes just chunk out some dead shrimp around those rocks. The two boys reeled in; Croakers, Spots, Black Drum, Pinfish, and Seabass. Of course I would have loved to hook-up a nice fat Redbass. But that wasn't the point, it was just about catchin'. And I even think, it's fun. Just catchin'....not targeting anything. Sometimes it's a relief for me, just to catch any fish. Give these two boys 10-15 years, and then they'll get all picky. But not today.

And here's the "three inch fish" as the title eluded too. Yep, it's a good day when you can catch them from 100 plus pounds, all the way down to three inches in just 4 hours. I had a ball, I hope my crew did too.

More to come on Friday and Saturday, then as of now I'm off on Sunday. Then comes a pile of charters to include more kid trips next week too.